John Force claims 16th NHRA Funny Car championship

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NHRA legend John Force earned his 16th Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car title in style today at the Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas, besting his daughter, Courtney Force, in the final round with a 4.06-second run (310.63 mph) to Courtney’s 4.08.

With the Vegas victory, John Force is now on a streak of three consecutive event wins going into next week’s season finale at Pomona, California. And after winning yet another Funny Car crown, the 64-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down.

“I felt 16 after I won, but I don’t want to end my career at 16 [championships],” he said according to Candida Benson of National Dragster. “I want to end it at 17 at least, so I’m going to be around for a while. You’re stuck with me because I truly do love it. The truth is if I ever had to win, this is a pretty good time to win because [sponsorship] deals need to be made next year, and I’ll be the champ while we’re making those deals.

“I love the job. I live in the gym. There ain’t nothing wrong with me. Nobody said you’ve got to quit racing. I’m going to keep doing it because it’s what I like to do.”

Also claiming an NHRA season title today in Vegas was Matt Smith, who claimed his second career Pro Stock Motorcycle championship with a final-round triumph over Jerry Savoie via a 6.991-second run (192.08 mph).

It also marked a pair of championships for the Smith family this fall, as Matt’s father, Rickie, claimed the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series title back in September.

Antron Brown and Shane Gray took top Vegas honors in Top Fuel and Pro Stock, respectively.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”